Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mean, Median, Mode, and Range Pack with Freebie

It's here! I spent my first night of spring break finishing this baby up and it's all ready to go at my TPT store.  I have to say I'm quite pleased with how it all turned out!  It includes 4 anchor charts (1 for each concept), 4 two-page math center worksheets (1 for each concept and all you need for the centers is dice and a deck of cards), a two-page review worksheet that practices all concepts and a fun set of flashcards for your students.  I finally have something of substance in my store and couldn't be more thrilled! (NERD ALERT! lol)

Doesn't it all look so pretty? In order to celebrate that I actually have 4 followers (yeah for you guys!), I'm posting the flashcards from my set above as a freebie! I hope you like them!  You can get your freebie here!
Now that it's the first full day of spring break, I don't quite know what to do with myself!  That's a lie...I know exactly what I need to do just by poking my head in the kitchen and seeing my sink full of dishes.  Blah!  I guess I better clean up some now before I become a bona fide couch potato.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Keeping Track of Homework

My first year of teaching, I thought a lot about how I wanted to reward students for doing all their homework on a daily basis.  I decided to go with homework passes.  I made a few very cute designs and for every day a student brought all their homework, I gave them a punch on the card.  When the card was full, they could attach the card to any teacher-approved homework assignment for full credit without doing any work.  It was a nice concept, but it wasn't a great motivator for my students.  It took a lot of time to fill up a card (about 15-20 days if I remember correctly) and my students kept losing them and just didn't really seem to care either way if they got a punch or not.  This clearly wasn't working for me, so I set out to find a new system for this year.

After much deliberation, I decided to give Homeworkopoly a try.  I found it on a teacher's site and read up on all the details.  I'm a board game nut, so I figured it might be a fun way to get students interested in getting all their homework back into me each day.  The premise of the game is much like the real Monopoly.  I have two large foam die that students roll each day when they turn in all their homework.  They created little people they made from templates I gave them at the beginning of the year and move their person/creature around the board.  There are special spaces that allow you to customize the game however you see fit, such as 'Mystery Prize,' 'Chance' cards, 'Community Lunchbox' cards, and 'Brain Buster' spaces.

Here's my board in use:
As you can see, our laminator is small so I had to make the board in two pieces.  Overall, I like this method of tracking homework.  The most important thing to me though is that the kids LOVE it.  Whenever we're rushed in the morning and I just have to do a mad dash to pick up homework, it doesn't take long for someone to ask, "Will we ever do Homeworkopoly again?"  They say this after skipping it for one day.  So dramatic! LOL  I think if I ever do it again, I will make it a Friday reward where students get to roll at the end of the week if they turned in all of that week's assignments on time.  It does take about 15-20 minutes to get through all my kiddos in the morning and sometimes I resent having to waste my morning time doing this.

If this sounds like something you'd like to try or read more about, visit this site.  It's got all the downloads you need for the game and everything is very thoroughly explained.  Does anyone else use this?  I'd be interested to hear about your successes and/or failures using this management tool.

Happy teaching!

P.S.  It's officially SPRING BREAK!!!! Yes! :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two Freebies and Spring Break

Spring break is only a day awaaaaaayyyy!  (Imagine that to the tune of 'Tomorrow, Tomorrow!')  I'm a little pumped, can you tell? :)  First of all, because I'd love to have a few hours in a row to research 3rd grade stuff without 6th grade duties getting in the way.  Secondly, because I can't wait to sleep in! And lastly, but probably most importantly, my hubby finally comes home on Tuesday!  He's been gone since 2012 started for an internship in Washington, D.C.  We've only been married since the end of July, so I'm very happy that these past few months of loneliness are over!  It's been a very long time...

On another good note, I've been working on a cute 'Mean, Median, Mode, and Range' packet for my TPT store.  It'll be the first thing of substance I've really put up there and I'll get that up sometime during spring break.  Until then, I have two new freebies for anyone who wants them!  The first is a chart for fun daily spelling practice.  The kids roll two large die and add the numbers together to identify the activity for the day.  It's got a lot of fun activities for all learners, including visual and kinesthetic.  My kids really like the randomness of it all and we do this two times a week.  Most of the activities have little explanations on the chart, but I've included detailed instructions for a few of the games others may not be as familiar with.

The second freebie is the vocabulary log I use with my kiddos.  I think it's best for upper elementary or middle school grades since the lines are closer together.  My kids were constantly failing their vocab quizzes because they didn't study and I implemented this as a way to cement the words into their heads.  Instead of just write the definition, they must write the word, definition, use the word correctly in a sentence, and draw an illustration to go with it.  This is not a new concept at all and I'm sure many of you already do a variation of this, but I figured since I already had a 15 word packet typed up, I might as well make it available.  My kids' scores have really improved since using these logs. Both of these are available for free in my TPT store.

Well, I'm off to enjoy a good old packet of Ramen Noodles for dinner.  I feel like I'm in college all over again!
Have a wonderful night, all!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Giveaway and a Cute Project

Before I forget, I thought I'd reblog about a giveaway that one of my favorite blogs is having.  If you stop on by Fun in Room 4B, you can enter her incredibly exciting giveaway for a chance to win some great resources made by very talented teachers and other goodies.  I can't wait until I have enough followers to have a giveaway!  I'm at two so far, so it should be in no time, lol!

Today was my first full day back at work since my sister left. The day felt really long, but I was happy to be back.  While my sister was here, she guided my kids through a 3D paper project that turned out really cool, so I thought I'd share.  I wouldn't recommend it for lower grades unless you've got lots of time to spare and the patience of a saint (unlike myself), but it would be a cute project to do at home, too.  They're 3D paper balls you can make with scrapbook paper.  The best part is that's really all you need.  There's no glue or tape involved at all, which automatically makes me love the idea even more!

Here's how my students' projects turned out.  Bright, fun papers really make them pop.  I had my students bring their own. They look super cute hanging from the ceiling at different lengths.

The only negative about this project was that I underestimated the fact that 6th graders CANNOT cut things out quickly and neatly.  Twenty minutes into this project, they were still cutting and despite my constant time reminders, they kept cutting away at their own pace.  Despite their slow-moving scissors, many of them had difficulty putting the shapes together because they didn't cut the lines as far as they should have.  Ironic?  The most important thing for a successful 3D ball (I'm not quite sure what to call them) in my experience is make sure the lines are cut perfectly, otherwise the shape gets skewed.   

If you'd like to try one of these, you can find the instructions and printable templates here.  And don't forget to stop by Fun in Room 4B to enter her amazing giveaway, if you haven't already!

Thanks for visiting!